Insecurities cling to self like malignant shadows of despair; doubt feasts. Kickin' & Screamin' is an unadulterated look into the mind of a genius. Delivered through hip-hop, it blatantly reflects the pretzeled inner-workings of a brilliant MC. Triumphing amid the slow grind that helped to build Strange Music's legendary fan base, Krizz Kaliko was there since the very beginning. Going from playing in the woods, and playing a plethora of random chicken shacks, Kali is currently part of the "Hostile Takeover 2012" tour. Elated exhaustion commands his features, "It's rough; this is the longest tour, ever in life! It's good. As long as we got fans to perform in front of, it's good."
Krizz Kaliko continues to share his soul. Tormented by certain aspects of his personality and assuaged by others, his confidence reigns supreme: "I'm confident with the person that I am, but sometimes I'm not pleased with what I have to go through to be that person." Though he's earned his rockstar status, Krizz is definitely a family man. His words echo his truth, "My family is super important to me. I've been with my wife for 14 years. One day, this will be over. I'm going to need somebody to take care of my crazy ass. They know I put them first, especially my son. In the world, my son is like the most important person to me. So, partying and being Krizz Kaliko has to be secondary."
In the conclusion of this BallerStatus exclusive, Krizz Kaliko discusses, his latest album, Kickin' & Screamin', his family, and his success.
Over the years, I've met you on several different occasions. You've seemed to be at peace with yourself, self-assured and very approachable. How have you learned to exorcise those personal demons from your past?
I am -- that comes from a couple of sources. Growing up as a fat kid with Vitiligo, I always had a lot of love and support. I always had a lot of friends. I've always been, kinda like, the favorite guy in the family. As a kid, I got a lot of love from my mother. I used to ask, "Why did God make me look like this?" My mom would be like, "It's okay, you're such a cute kid. Girls will love you." Fortunately, and this is going to sound really arrogant, but I've always had beautiful women. I think it's because of what you said, I've always been really approachable and I've always seemed really genuine.
Even if I had sexual encounters with women, it didn't seem like I was really hunting for it. It seemed like I was having a cool little conversation and it just ended up that way. I used to be a self-conscious kid, but I think as I grew into myself, I knew who I was pretty quickly. That enabled me to overcome having a unique look. Having vitiligo never seemed to really hinder me from having love, support, and even being popular with the women.
"Dumb For You" reminded me of "Hunterish." Do you like Bugs Bunny, too?
Do I like Bugs Bunny? (laughs) Yeah, I mean as a kid, yeah. Why does that remind your of Bugs Bunny, though?
In the past I asked Tech N9ne about "Hunterish," because the beat is so stupid. He explained that it came from a certain Bugs Bunny cartoon. It was an episode where Bugs was picking at a guy who was playing a drum.
Oh yeah, I forgot about that. What made me revisit it, because even on the second verse I said, "...Yo 100, we so hunterish / you'll be muggin' her when she's pumping it.' The same producer that produced "Hunterish" produced that. When he sent me the beat, he called me and said, "Hey, man, I'm about to send you this beat. T-Pain is already on the hook." He sent it to me. Tech said, "That sounds too much of 'Hunterish'." I was like, "Man, please ... that's hard! I'll tell you how to get this off. In the song, you just revisit 'Hunterish.' And it looks like you did it on purpose." That way people won't say, "Ah, that sounds like 'Hunterish' again." If you go ahead and say that in the song it looks intentional. I love the beat.
When I got it, I called Pain and was like, "Man, you're a fool." Actually, he re-recorded that hook again, but I liked the original one. So, I kept the original one on it. He didn't think it was good enough, but I love it, so I just kept the original one on there. I am a Bugs Bunny fan. Yes, but that wasn't what made me think of that. What he was talking about on the hook made me write about some personal experiences where I had messed with a girl or two, who had a husband or a boyfriend, but they weren't forthcoming. In the beginning, they weren't honest about that. It damn near caused me to get into beefs with their boyfriends and husbands. I'm like, "Look, man, she didn't tell me she was married. You're beefing with me, but your problem is with her." You know how that goes, I just spoke from that standpoint.
"Wanna Be" is one of my favorite tracks. The first time I heard it, it definitely had that Seven sound to it. Are you inspired by the beat, or do you already have a theme that you want to create around?
Nah, if I don't co-produce it, I'm generally inspired by the beat. A lot of the songs that I do, I'll help come up with the beat, too. Me and Michael "Seven" Summers will make the beat together. But, "Wanna Be," he actually did on his own. When he sent it to me, I was definitely inspired. If I don't come up with it, I'm definitely inspired by it. I listen to what the beat tells me to do. As soon as I listened to that beat, in my head, I immediate heard, "...what you want me to be, a killer..."
I actually wrote that hook for Nikkiyah [Brooks], who sang on a couple of Tech's songs. I wrote a couple of hooks for her on the All 6's And 7's album. I actually wrote that hook for her to do, but when I recorded it, I liked me doing it. I just loved me on there, because I just liked the delivery. If you listen to the sound of how she did "Delusional", you can tell. I was writing it for her to sing. But once I did it, I just loved it. That's one of my favorite tracks, too.
It has that I-Wish-A-N****-Would / This-Ain't-What-You-Want quality to it. You showed your ass on that track; love it!
(chuckles) I'm telling you, everything I say, I mean. For real, I'm a nice dude, but with me, you can't take it too far. You just can't. Even though I'm a genuine person; I'm a Christian dude. But, you know, the n**** is still in there. If I have to, I can still bring it out. That's why I say, "...I'm Christian, but keep a thang." At some times, I still have to carry a pistol, but I consider myself a Christian man.
Are you an MC that actually writes down your lyrics? Or, are you one of those lyrical wizards?
I'm definitely a writer. Now, I will say, I don't use pen and paper. Yeah, since Genius, I've been writing in my iPhone. In particular, me and Tech's lyrics are too intricate to be able to just go in there and freestyle. We concentrate on patterns. It would be hard, especially with a song like "Kill Sh**." There's no way that I could do that without writing it down. If you listen to the pattern structure, it's obvious that there's no way that you can do that without writing it down. There's just too many words.
Dow Jones (producer Lil Wayne, Drake, etc.) months ago I played the album for him. He asked Tech, "What is this n****? He's crazy!" He was like, "Man, I got to let Wayne and Drake hear this. This n**** is an alien, man!" It's so crazy that my brain works like that; it works for me and against me. Fortunately, I have an outlet, which is music that allows me to put this crazy brain to some kind of good use.I had to ask, because I was thinking, are you really a human, or are you a robot.
(laughing) Dow Jones, he produces a lot of stuff for Lil Wayne and for Drake, months ago I played the album for him. He asked Tech, "What is this n****? He's crazy!" He was like, "Man, I got to let Wayne and Drake hear this. This n**** is an alien, man!" It's so crazy that my brain works like that; it works for me and against me. Fortunately, I have an outlet, which is music that allows me to put this crazy brain to some kind of good use.
Hip-hop is a stingy bitch. Given that you're married, how do you invest the necessary quality time into your home life and into your profession that ensures that both of these relationships work out well?
Well, the road is the road and home is home. To tell you the truth, I really don't party that much. You know, even on the road, you've seen me. After the shows, you've been around and you see how it is. After the shows, our bus is quiet time. But, you know, I indulge in the party life every now and then. I'll drink, but I don't drink as much as I used to. I really don't smoke weed that much. I only smoke when I'm in Amsterdam. When I smoke weed, it makes me panic ... for real. I'm one of those paranoid smokers, because of my anxiety disorders.
Right now, there's a network that actually wants to do a reality show with me. This producer does a lot of shows; he produces the "Biggest Loser". He says, "You should let people see how you really are. I think it'll be more beneficial to your career. If people can see you at home and your everyday life -- even on the road and stuff like that -- I think it'll be really interesting." So, I just got to find that balance. A long time ago, Quincy Jones told Tech, "You're either going to have a successful relationship or a successful career." And though it is very challenging, because there are beautiful women around all the time, who are more than willing to do whatever. But, once you become a man, you find out what's more important to you.
Being a man, how do you define success; are you successful?
That's a difficult question. I believe that I am successful. But, I believe that I look more successful to our fans. Like I said, I'm insatiable. I want to be super successful. I want the whole world to hear my music. I have to say that's a good question. If the whole world heard my music, I believe that's successful. The whole world has to know my music for me to feel that way. [Achieving] Michael Jackson status would make me feel successful. Until I've reached that status, I'd have to say I'm on my way.
Do you appreciate what your hard work has earned you thus far?
Absolutely, when I say insatiable, that doesn't mean unappreciative. That just means that it's just not enough. It's not where I picture myself. In life, I bought my first home strictly from [making] music. That's successful, for real. I'm able to provide for my family by writing songs. That's tremendously successful, but it's not enough for me. I need the world to know Krizz Kaliko. I have to have that. I was talking to my publicist about that. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate it. Think about Michael Jordan and think about Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant can say, "Hey, I already won a championship, I'm cool." Nah, he needs as many rings, if not more than Michael Jordan. That's insatiable; that's what I am.
Thank you for talking to me. Until the next time, what would you like to share with BallerStatus and your supporters?
Pass me on, like I said in the song "Immortal." If you love it, then other people will too. So, you got to pass me on. That's how we built Strange Music through word of mouth.
Purchase Kickin & Screamin'! On Twitter follow @KrizzKaliko.